Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Contagion: Movie Review

Life and death as been done before but now with debates.

“Contagion” is the fight against a contagious disease. The fight against time, against the virus, and against fear. Humanity being threatened by a deadly illness is not new for cinema. But it is a better adventure than most. There’s science, heartbreak, death, life and young love, and all with more characters than you can count, but played by some of the best actors that Hollywood and the world have to offer.2011

Directed by: Steven Soderbergh

Screenplay by: Scott Z. Burns

Starring: Matt Damon, Kate Winslet and Jude Law

Gwyneth Paltrow, the beautiful blonde, is the first to get sick. Immediately thereafter, the deaths start piling up. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization start investigating (WHO). Husbands (Matt Damon) want answers, doctors (Kate Winslet, et al) want answers, and everybody else gets to run around with their heads chopped off (figuratively). And we followed everybody, and they were all played by a worthwhile actor, even those with just a line or two. I could have done with a lot less characters.

In fact, I probably would have preferred it with one main character. Specifically, Jude Law as Alan Krumwiede, a blogger with personal investments in the outcome of humanity. The great thing is that instead of representing the media as a collective group of non-identifiable people, we got one person, an interestingly-created, modern, selfish person. I think he needed to be much more gray and less evil, but even as is he instigated debates about journalism, and about what traits or actions make one person worse than another. Warning: you may disagree with your loved one, and that is one of the best things “Contagion” can do.

I’m not even sure that the filmmakers know what they did well and what they didn’t do well because they basically just did everything. I had seen most of it before, but they did do most of it well. But as I said before, I got a debate about journalism in a film about life and death and that part was better than I could have expected.


Margin Call (2011) - The buying and selling of protagonists and antagonists in a profanely straight film.

Take Shelter (2011) - Shelter in the face of insanity versus reality.

Side Effects (2013) - Morally ambiguous characters in a deceptive, complex thriller plot.